A diverse group of inquisitive Capetonains gathered at Tribe Coffee
at the Old Foundry in Woodstock last night for a fun evening of coffee (& chocolate) flavour exploration. It wasn't what i was expecting at all...
As always, Kate "the trailblazer" Nero was on-hand to welcome everyone with some pink bubbles from Lourensford
& an amazing array of hand crafted chocolate coated coffee beans courtesy of Cocoafair
...she knows the formula for a fun evening - as they say "alcohol makes people interesting, chocolate is cheaper than therapy, and coffee keeps the world turning!"
The evening was put together by David Coleman
(the 2013 Western Cape Aeropress Champion and Aeropress distributor) and Jake Easton
(lead roaster from Tribe Coffee) as a way of introducing people to the exploration of coffee flavour, and to share their experience and insights into the amazing world of (good) coffee! There were four stations set up each with a unique single origin coffee, paired with a hand crafted chocolate. The Nicuraguan was paired with Liquorice Milk chocolate, the Guatemalan with a Vanilla based White chocolate, the Tribe Blend with an orange zest based dark chocolate, and then a mystery origin with a ginger based dark chocolate.
Dave and Jake (who could easily move into stand-up comedy if their coffee businesses dont work out!) explained a little about the coffee tasting process and why the aeropress is such a good tool for flavour discovery. Like Wine, Coffee is processed from a fruit, which takes on different flavour profiles based on the varietal, the climate, the soil type and all the other natural and environmental factors. When it comes to coffee extraction (or brewing), there are essentially three methods:
- Immersion (soaking) - french press/plunger;
- Espresso (Italian for "pressure") - where water is pushed through the coffee under high pressure; or
- Drip Method - a pourover or drip filter where water works its way through the coffee with gravity
So why is the aeropress so good for coffee tasting? It is a unique brewing method that uses both immersion and pressure together, resulting in the best of both worlds and a much more consistent, flavorful extraction. And the best part about it is that the man in the street that knows absolutely nothing about coffee, can still make a consistently good cup of coffee just by adding coffee and water and pressing it through. On the other hand, for coffee geeks, like Formula 1, the processes can be fine tuned where attention to detail such as the weight of coffee used, the fineness of the grind, the temperature of the water and the exposure time all make a huge difference in determining the ultimate flavour extraction and why there's a World Aeropress Championship!
David's evangelism around coffee is to teach people about the flavour discovery of coffee, and his quick tips were as follows:
- drop your judgement and perception about what coffee tastes like - there is no right or wrong, only your preception of the flavour
- dont categorise it as good or bad, but rather think about things you've tasted before.
- ask questions and think of specific flavours like spices, fruits
- A quick biology 101 lesson was very insightful in helping to profile a coffee. There are 6 basic taste profiles - sweet (tip of tongue), bitter (back of the tongue), acidity, sourness & saltiness (side of the tongue)
- Get noisy, start Sllluuuurppppping!!
- hold the coffee in the front of your mouth,
- suck air into your mouth and aerate the coffee for a couple of seconds
- Swirl the coffee around your mouth
- To find the finish, click your tong from the palate of your mouth down - "thha, thha thha"
The evening wasn't without incident with Adrian (Tribe's head barrista) forgetting to screw the cap on during his first extraction! Other than that, it was pretty much plain sailing with the Mystery Coffee being identified as a Colombian Decaf with a lemon-like acidity and a cranberry tartness...
The evening finished off with the awarding of two prizes - an Aeropress (from Moreflavour) for the identification of the mystery coffee, and two lucky dip prizes of an OohBox! and Tribe Coffee subscription to onelessthing.co.za.
All in all, a fun, eventful evening of music, coffee exploration & chocolate tasting, Oh, and a few bubbles for good measure.
Being taught by the master, Jake Easton.
David Coleman, current Western Cape Barista Champ and the importer of the wonderful AeroPress.